Tag Archives: Odyssey

Epiroc records ‘best quarter ever for electrification’

In a quarter of record revenues and adjusted operating margin, Epiroc’s battery-electric equipment orders and market demand for electrified mining solutions again came to the fore.

The company posted revenues of SEK11.9 billion ($1.2 billion) in the June quarter, 22% up on the same three-month period of a year ago. Its adjusted operating margin came in at 23.6%, compared with 22.6% a year earlier.

Epiroc’s aftermarket division continued to dominate the balance sheet, accounting for 73% of revenues, which itself was up on the 69% registered in the June quarter of 2021.

Included within this revenue is the company’s growing mid-life battery retrofit solution, which it launched last year to provide a second electrified life for its diesel-powered machines. Able to convert existing machines to battery-electric versions, CEO Helena Hedblom said the offering continued to find favour with existing mining customers.

“With brownfield operations, there are great opportunities to bring battery-electric solutions into the fleet with our retrofit option when, for example, existing diesel-powered machines go in for their mid-life upgrades,” she said.

To this point, the company has devised readily available battery-electric retrofit options for its diesel-powered Scooptram ST1030, Scooptram ST14 and Minetruck MT436 machines, but Hedblom said the company was working on offering this option across its entire diesel-powered fleet, with the machine retrofit rollout plan determined by the size of the installed base in the marketplace.

The company also won several major equipment contracts in the June quarter that included battery-electric solutions.

Its electric machines are set to feature on major projects such as Odyssey and Onaping Depth in Canada. Closer to home in Sweden, the Epiroc battery-electric fleet will grow at LKAB’s underground iron ore operations and Boliden is set to use several of zero-emission truck and loaders at numerous mine sites.

Epiroc labelled Q2 as its “best quarter ever for electrification”, and Hedblom was equally effusive about the company’s offering, saying it was built for both greenfield and brownfield mines.

“We have a strong position in the electrification market; both for equipment sales, retrofit and electrical infrastructure,” she said.

The company’s infrastructure proposition was strengthened during the quarter with the acquisition of JTMEC, an Australia-based company specialising in providing mines with electrical infrastructure.

This comes on top of the company’s recent purchase of Meglab, a Canada-based company with expertise in providing electrification infrastructure solutions to mines, meaning it has electrification infrastructure expertise in two major mining hubs.

One of the battery-electric orders received during the most recent three-month period was from Boliden for the Rävliden, Kristineberg and Renström mine sites in northern Sweden. Included within this order was an Scooptram ST18 Battery that, the company previously confirmed, will include the incorporation of Scooptram Automation, representing one of the first times these battery-backed machines will receive an automation upgrade.

While a solution for automating the battery charging or swapping process remains some way off, Hedblom sees the convergence of the two – electrification and automation – getting closer in the future.

“Electrification and automation go hand in hand, with companies that are high on electrification also typically being high on automation,” she said.

Gold Fields looks to take over Yamana Gold in major M&A deal

Gold Fields and Yamana Gold have entered into a definitive agreement, under which Gold Fields will acquire all the outstanding common shares of Yamana pursuant to a plan of arrangement in a deal that could create a top three gold producer (by production).

Under the terms of the transaction, all outstanding Yamana shares will be exchanged at a ratio of 0.6 of an ordinary share in Gold Fields or 0.6 of a Gold Fields American depositary share for each Yamana share. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both Gold Fields and Yamana, implies a valuation for Yamana of $6.7 billion and represents a premium of 33.8% to the 10-day Volume-Weighted Average Price of Yamana’s shares on May 27.

Upon closing of the transaction, it is anticipated Gold Fields shareholders and Yamana shareholders will own approximately 61% and 39% of the combined group, respectively.

Based on 2021 production, the combined group would have a 3.4 Moz profile along with a 25-year reserve life. It would also benefit from the near-term growth of Gold Fields’ Salares Norte (Chile) and South Deep (South Africa) mines, and longer-term growth from Yamana’s Wasamac (Canada), Malartic Odyssey (Canada) and MARA (Argentina) projects as well as additional opportunities in Yamana’s high-quality exploration pipeline, the companies said.

Gold Fields and Yamana currently have 14 mines providing regional relevance across premier, rules-based mining jurisdictions including North America, South America, Africa and Australia, they said.

The deal would create the third largest gold company by gold production in 2024, and fourth largest by market capitalisation, according to the companies, but there is also a clear near-term path towards some 4 Moz of gold-equivalent steady-state annual production, Gold Fields said.

Wasamac, in feasibility study stage, is included within this, but beyond that, the company also outlined growth potential from Jacobina, El Peñón, Minera Florida and Lavra Velha, plus longer-term upside that included the development of MARA.

MARA, owned 56.25% by Yamana, is a joint venture with Newmont and Glencore. It is a brownfield operation leveraging existing Minera Alumbrera infrastructure that has 38.9 Moz of reserves.

A feasibility study on the project is expected to be completed by year end, with the report published in the March quarter of 2023.

Chris Griffith, Chief Executive Officer of Gold Fields, said about the combination: “Today we are announcing the acquisition by Gold Fields of Yamana, two companies with complementary portfolios, cultures and strategic priorities.

“The result is a combination with much greater capacity and potential value than the sum of its parts. Each company brings with it a unique set of skills and geological knowledge, enabling the combined group to enhance its assets more efficiently over the long-term than they could as separate companies.

“Like Gold Fields, Yamana is focused on operational delivery, disciplined capital allocation, portfolio management, maximising shareholder returns, and upholding leading sustainability, safety and ESG performance. These shared priorities are foundational to this transaction.”

Peter Marrone, Executive Chairman of Yamana Gold, added: “This is an outstanding opportunity for our shareholders, employees and the local communities in which we operate throughout the Americas. The transaction delivers an immediate and compelling premium for Yamana Shareholders, reflecting the inherent fair value of our assets, while also offering an opportunity to benefit from the creation of a new global gold producer with an attractive value proposition.

“The combination of Yamana and Gold Fields creates a world-class, globally diversified company with regional relevance across premier, rules-based mining jurisdictions that is underpinned by low cost, long life mines.”

The initial target for pre-tax synergies is approximately $40 million/y, anchored in operational integration, as well as potential financing synergies and a streamlining of overhead cost structures, they said.

The deal, which is subject to several approvals, is expected to close in the December quarter.

Epiroc captures battery-electric, automation order from Odyssey Mine owners

Epiroc has won a major battery-electric and autonomous fleet order from the owners of the Odyssey Mine in Malartic, Québec, Canada.

The order, from the Canadian Malartic Partnership, will be used in the new underground gold mine.

The Canadian Malartic Partnership, a 50:50 JV between Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd, is constructing the Odyssey Mine, which will become one of Canada’s largest gold mines when it is fully ramped up later this decade.

The ordered equipment includes a variety of drill rigs, loaders and mine trucks, with some of the machines will be battery powered. Automation features include Minetruck Automation and Scooptram Automation, which are part of Epiroc’s 6th Sense portfolio of digital solutions. By combining these solutions with Epiroc’s Traffic Management System, material handling is optimised within the mine, bringing benefits such as virtually eliminating the risk of collisions, Epiroc said.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “The Canadian Malartic Partnership is taking a massive next step with the new underground mine where our battery-electric and other advanced machines with state-of-the-art automation and traffic management solutions will help optimise safety and productivity. Epiroc and the Canadian Malartic Partnership have a history of successful cooperation, and we look forward to continue contributing to their success.”

The equipment order also includes education and training using sophisticated simulators, which was flagged by IM earlier this year.

This is the second equipment order from the Canadian Malartic Partnership. Epiroc also won a large order for drill rigs, loaders, and mine trucks in the September quarter of 2021.

The Odyssey Mine is located just west of the Canadian Malartic Partnership’s open-pit gold mine, which is still in operation, and to which Epiroc in previous years has provided Pit Viper surface drill rigs.

Odyssey is expected to feature an LTE mobile communication network, an automated fleet of 60 t trucks operated from the surface and on-demand ventilation, the Canadian Malartic Partnership has previously stated. All all of the major production fleet, including trucks, drills and LHDs, are also expected to be battery electric.

The Odyssey Mine will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep. Plans are to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t gold and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operations.

Patrick Mercier, General Manager of the Odyssey Mine, said: “Over the years, Epiroc has clearly demonstrated its willingness to be a leader in the technical evolution of mining equipment, whether in electrification or automation. Obviously, this transition will not happen by itself. We are privileged that Epiroc has proposed us a collaborative approach in order to effectively integrate their equipment into the Odyssey Mine and actively participate in this evolution. The benefits from this collaboration will contribute to making mines even safer and jobs more accessible in the field.”

The equipment ordered during the March quarter includes battery-electric versions of the Boltec (an M10 Boltec, pictured) rock reinforcement drill rig, Simba production drill rig and Boomer face drilling rig (jumbo). It also includes an Easer raise boring rig, Scooptram loaders, and Minetruck haulers. The machines will be equipped with Epiroc’s telematics system Certiq, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time. Epiroc will also provide service and spare parts, as well as expertise on electrification solutions.

Yamana ups its climate action ante, considers further use of BEVs, automation

Yamana Gold Inc has announced the outcome of its foundational work on its Climate Action Strategy, raising its climate action ambition by adopting a 1.5ºC target compared to pre-industrial levels and laying the groundwork for the incorporation of more renewable energy sources and battery-electric vehicles at its mines.

The foundational work began in early 2021 and Yamana previously indicated it would complete its work and establish science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement targets by the end of the year. This has seen the company determine base year emissions, emissions forecasts, GHG abatement pathways for Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and physical and transition risks aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

After conducting top-down and bottom-up GHG reduction opportunity assessments at each operation, Yamana has raised its ambition from a 2ºC-aligned target in early 2021 to a 1.5ºC target.

Work has been performed in conformance with evolving international best practice, including the GHG Protocol, Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guidelines, and the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Climate Change Protocol.

Based on the company’s analysis of a 1.5ºC temperature scenario, an annual emissions reduction of approximately 4.2% will be required until 2030. Yamana has concluded it will be able to meet these reduction targets by its 2030 target through a focus on efficient, high-grade underground mines and operating in jurisdictions that have a large proportion of available renewable, green electricity.

A newly signed power purchase agreement at its Minera Florida operation (Chile), scheduled to become effective in 2022, will provide 100% renewable electricity over the next five years. When coupled with similar agreements at Jacobina (Brazil, pictured) and El Peñon (Chile), approximately 85% of the company’s gold-equivalent ounces will be produced with renewable energy by the end of next year.

As part of its previously announced growth plans at Wasamac (Canada), Odyssey (Canada) and Jacobina (Brazil), Yamana is evaluating opportunities to further reduce its GHG emissions by investing in battery-electric vehicles, automation and other emerging technologies. Meanwhile, the company’s near-term growth in both Quebec and Brazil will leverage electrical grids that have a high proportion of green, renewable energy. Hydroelectric and other forms of non-fossil fuel energy constituted more than 99.9% of the Quebec grid energy in 2020, it said.

In 2022, the company will continue to refine its analysis and transition to a more operations-focused approach as it continues work to identify and assess additional opportunities to reduce GHG emissions. The company will also begin to define its Scope 3 GHG emissions, including those from its 50% owned Canadian Malartic Mine.

MacLean battery-electric support fleet set for Odyssey gold mine

A fleet of MacLean battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are set to operate at the Odyssey Mine, one of Canada’s largest underground gold mining projects, after the OEM and Canadian Malartic Partnership agreed on a fleet order.

The mine, currently under construction, is owned 50:50 by Yamana Gold Inc and Agnico Eagle Ltd. The partners have already said it is expected to be one of the most modernised electric underground mines, with all major mobile production equipment (such as trucks, scoop trams, jumbos, bolters, and longhole drill rigs electric powered).

The MacLean BEV fleet at Odyssey Mine will be used for ground support installation, explosives charging, materials transport, and construction and maintenance, the OEM said.

The Odyssey Mine, located near the Town of Malartic in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of northern Quebec, will extract ore from an orebody that lies underneath the historical East Malartic Gold Mines, whose Mine Manager from the late 1930s to late 1940s was none other than ‘Ducky’ MacLean, father of Don MacLean, who founded his namesake mobile equipment company in 1973 and spent close to a decade of his childhood in the Malartic mine camp.

Don MacLean’s son Kevin MacLean now leads the mining vehicle manufacturer, having assumed the role of company President in 2009. He said: “Every fleet order is special but this one has particular resonance because it connects the MacLean family past with the MacLean company future in the form of battery-powered mining vehicles. The underground project of the partnership provides a perfect opportunity for MacLean mobile equipment to return to East Malartic in support of diesel-free operations.”

Don MacLean added: “I’m thrilled to see underground mining coming back to Malartic and grateful that the partnership has put their faith in MacLean BEVs to get the job done safely and productively.”

Tony Caron, MacLean VP of Quebec, Nunavut, and Latin America, said: “The fact that the MacLean fleet in Malartic will represent a return to Don’s childhood roots adds a special dynamic to this story, one that everyone at the MacLean branch in Val-d’Or will keep at heart as we dedicate ourselves to supporting the success of Odyssey Mine.”

The partners approved construction to transform the Odyssey Project into the Odyssey Mine over the coming years in February, spelling out plans to extract 19,000 t of ore at an estimated grade of about 2.75 g/t Au and roughly 5,000 t/d of waste rock during peak operation. It will be accessed by a ramp and a shaft estimated to be 1,800 m deep.

Yamana Gold evaluates Jacobina backfill plant, underground mine at Canadian Malartic

Yamana Gold says it is evaluating the installation of a backfill plant at its Jacobina gold mine in Brazil (pictured) in a move that would reduce the asset’s environmental footprint, as well as extend the life of the operation’s existing tailings storage facility.

The backfill plant would allow up to 2,000 t/d of tailings to be deposited in underground voids, Yamana said in its 2021-2023 guidance and 10-year overview release.

The miner said the construction and operation of a backfill plant would also improve mining recoveries at the operation, resulting in increased conversion of mineral resources to mineral reserves.

Jacobina produced 44,165 oz of gold during the December quarter and an all-time high of 177,830 oz for 2020, the company reported in a separate release.

This was the seventh consecutive year of increasing production at the operation, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years, Yamana said.

“Successful infill and exploration drilling in the Canavieiras and João Belo sectors during 2020 continues to generate significant growth potential,” the company added.

Production in 2021 is forecast to be in a similar range to the 177,830 oz recorded in 2020, Yamana said.

“The operation exceeded the targeted throughput rate of 6,500 t/d for the Phase 1 expansion, and it continues to identify and implement additional processing plant optimisations to further increase throughput, improve recoveries and reduce costs,” the company said. “Beyond further optimisations, the feasibility study for Jacobina’s Phase 2 expansion plans to increase throughput to 8,500 t/d and raise annual production to 230,000 oz remains on track for mid-2021.”

Yamana’s base case in its 10-year overview also included production from an underground mine at the Canadian Malartic operation in Quebec, Canada. This consists of the East Gouldie, Odyssey, and East Malartic zones, (collectively known as the Odyssey project).

Owned 50:50 by Yamana and Agnico Eagle, the Canadian Malartic open-pit mine exceeded its revised 2020 guidance, producing 568,000 oz of gold (on a 100% basis). Production last year was impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions on mining in Quebec and is forecast to increase in 2021 to 700,000 oz, with all-in sustaining costs projected to decline to $850-$885/oz, from $945/oz in 2020.

The Canadian Malartic open pit will be depleted in the first half of 2023, and waste rock and tailings will be deposited into the pit beginning in 2023, Yamana says.

This coincides with planned first production from the Odyssey South zone at the underground project, with the Upper East Gouldie zone expected to come online in 2027.

The most recent underground mineral resource for the project, which was published in February 2020, showed more than 10 Moz of gold (100% basis), including 9.6 Moz ounces of inferred mineral resources (100% basis) and 830,000 oz of indicated mineral resources (100% basis).

“In the interim, exploration results have been exceptional, improving economics and increasing confidence that the underground project will be a multi-hundred-thousand-ounce annual producer for decades,” Yamana said.

Key development milestones for the underground project over the next three years include the development of a ramp into the Odyssey, East Malartic, and East Gouldie zones, which will allow for tighter definition drilling to further expand the mineral resource base, along with headframe construction and shaft sinking, Yamana said.

A preliminary economic assessment for the project is expected to be completed in February.